GIS Tech News (#118)19 Dec, 2012 By: Cadalyst Staff
New community portal from Trimble delivers first-hand accounts of people overcoming day-to-day challenges.
By Cyrena Respini-Irwin
Earlier this year, Trimble launched iMapGeo, an online portal that showcases stories of geospatial tribulations and triumphs, shared by professionals around the world. In addition to user stories, the venture incorporates live iMapGeo World Tour events and contributor awards. Todd Taylor, senior marketing manager for Trimble's GeoSpatial Division, was kind enough to provide his perspective.
Cadalyst: What is the primary goal of iMapGeo — to help geospatial users learn from each other, to engender a sense of community in the industry, to cast the technology in a more glamorous light, or something else?
Taylor: All of those suggestions have some role, but ultimately we simply want to make it easy for people to share and learn from the work that is happening across the geospatial industry. The industry is full of dynamic people who apply knowledge and technology to solve real-world problems. By encouraging participation from the larger geospatial community, we hope to collect a mosaic of insights, stories, and reports that highlight geospatial challenges and successes from across the globe.
IMapGeo offers partners and community members direct participation with minimal restriction. If you want to blog about a geospatial project or field experience, but don't want to establish and promote your own blog platform, you have an opportunity to use the existing platform and audience on iMapGeo to achieve the same end. This is vastly different from the more formal abstract submission, academic publication, or professional editorial content development processes often associated with sharing one's work. By focusing on stories of people solving problems, we show a fresh and human perspective. In this way, iMapGeo is not so much about profound breakthroughs, but more about the experiences that make working in this industry rewarding for the majority of us.
How do you define the audience for iMapGeo?
It is certainly intended for geospatial professionals, and most of the content relates to projects implementing Trimble solutions. However, we can accept stories that do not reference Trimble solutions whatsoever. We would not, however, directly accept content that promotes the products of companies that are not partners in the iMapGeo program. Simply put, that means we accept a wide range of stories, but not commercials.
The impact of the site on the general public knowledge is difficult to assess at this early stage. There are other projects, for example "Geospatial Revolution" by Penn State Public Broadcasting, that specifically target this objective and do an excellent job of achieving it. In the longer term, iMapGeo may have some larger role to play in public awareness, but for now our focus is on the geospatial community.
In the four months since launch, we have had more than 4,000 unique visitors to iMapGeo.com. We've also experienced a 25% increase in our LinkedIn group members and a 40% increase in Twitter subscribers, and the World Tour attracted approximately 500 participants. These numbers are promising first signals; just like the geospatial industry itself, iMapGeo is growing, evolving, and picking up momentum. Read more »
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Cyrena Respini-Irwin is Cadalyst's senior editor.
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